Two days ago, Mets reliever Adam Ottavino failed to hold a lead in Detroit when he gave up a two run single in the bottom of the eighth to propel the Tigers to a 6-5 win. With a second chance, last night, Ottavino got the job done as the Mets held on for a 1-0 win over the Colorado Rockies at Citifield.
The Mets (17-16) snapped a three game losing streak and moved a game over .500 as they continue what is considered a “soft stretch” of their schedule.
The Rockies (12-21) had the tying run at third and one out in the ninth, but Ottavino bore down and struck out pinch-hitter Mike Moustakas on a 3-2 cutter and then got Charlie Blackmon to line out to right to earn his fourth save.
Mets starter Kodai Senga (4-1) was pitching on extended rest and gave the Mets a lift. The 30-year old right hander, who was pitching for the first time in nine days, allowed two hits, struck out four and walked four in six scoreless innings as he tossed a season high 101 pitches.
Brandon Nimmo gave Senga and the Mets all they would need as he snapped a scoreless tie with a lead off home run in the fourth. Nimmo drove the first pitch from Rockies starter and losing pitcher Antonio Sentazela (0-1) into the right field stands for his third home run of the season and a 1-0 lead. “He’s good [Sentazela]. I faced him for a long time now,” Nimmo said.
Senga struggled early with his command as he walked four batters in three innings but it was a good sign that he was able to grind his way through. “I thought he had better command of his fastball,” Mets Manager Buck Showalter said. “His split was there some, not quite where it can be, but he’s got enough secondary pitches.”
It wasn’t pretty, but the Mets will take this win and hope to build on it.
“Anytime you just kinda turn the page and get a ‘w’ on your side, it does release a little bit of tension from the losing streak,” said Nimmo.
Paraphrasing the ol’ baseball adage, the guy who hits the home run, makes the great catch the next inning. After Nimmo homered in the fourth, he made a great defensive play to snuff out any potential rally in the fifth.
Rockies rookie shortstop Ezequiel Tovar led off and hit a sinking liner to left center field but Nimmo made a diving catch for a big, first out. Senga appreciated the effort as he raised his arms and clapped in a gesture of appreciation.
Drew Smith pitched a scoreless seventh, but David Robertson was fortunate in the eighth.
Jurickson Profar led off with a walk. After Robertson got the next two outs, Elias Diaz was at bat when Mets catcher Tomas Nido tried to pick off Profar at first, but the throw sailed into right field, allowing Profar to reach second and get in scoring position.
Diaz walked and was pinch run for by Brenton Doyle. Ryan McMahon lined a shot between first and second that appeared to be going into right field but the Mets got a break when Doyle was hit by the batted ball for the third out. McMahon was credited with a single but the Mets were headed to the dugout.
Ottavino was brought on to close but Grichuk led off the ninth with a single and stole second. Harold Castro laid down a perfect sac bunt to send Grichuk to third with one out, before Ottavino got the big strikeout of Moustakas.
“Got kinda lucky with the 2-0 [pitch], he [Moustakas] fouled it and it was probably a good pitch to hit,” Ottavino said. “Then went to the change up, hoping for a roll over or a miss, got the miss. Then, from there, committed to the strikeout.”
Blackmon was next and he didn’t waste time as he jumped on the first pitch from Ottavino, the former Rockies pitcher, but lined it right to Starling Marte to end the game. “Charlie’s a great hitter, know him really well. I know there’s a chance he’d be swinging but I wanted to come right at him right there and he put a great swing on it, but I got lucky that it went right to Marte.”
The Mets only had five hits as the offense continues to stumble so Senga’s outing was a very welcome sight. “I was just determined to hold them to zero and to be able to do that is a big upside,” Senga said through an interpreter.
After he completed the sixth inning, Senga strutted off the mound to the dugout where he got a number of enthusiastic “high-fives” for a job well done.